A Labor of Love

Hello, and Happy Labor Day weekend.

Have you ever done something that entailed a lot of work, but it didn’t seem like work at all? Those are the moments that make my heart sing. How about you?

Pictured above is the Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon I made for the hard-working folks at The Mission last Monday — yes, that’s moi in the red apron — followed by “re-invented” meals on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Waste not, want not! My initial spread consisted of a salad bar, fried chicken (from a local grocery store deli by request), roast beef, homemade mashed potatoes (peeled 30 pounds at 4:00 a.m. Monday morning), cream gravy (theirs), and beef gravy (mine), which subsequently morphed into biscuits & gravy with a green salad, fresh fruit, and garlic bread sticks on Tuesday; a ham dinner on Wednesday (the food pantry supervisor wanted us to “taste test” the ham she bought before ordering more to give them out in our Thanksgiving/Christmas baskets — two thumbs up!); and ham salad sandwiches (they don’t call me the Queen of Leftovers for nothin’) with homemade cream of veggie soup on Thursday. Oh, and Rice Krispie bars with M’n’M’s because my “Zuppa Inglese” (English Trifle) ran out early in the week… a favorite from the 1970’s… sponge cake layered with strawberries & raspberries, vanilla pudding, whipped cream, and grated dark chocolate. Swoon…

The whole point of this Labor of Love was to show folks how much they’re appreciated — NOT about meal planning, menus, or kitchen stamina — although I heard a few comments about that too, xo. One gal even called me Superwoman. Don’t I wish? :)

Behind The Mission’s philanthropic venture to feed the hungry are many dedicated volunteers, including our backroom staff that tirelessly sorts through the daily donations and carries them to the thrift store (which generates funds to buy more food for the pantry) or packs them into barrels to ship to South America to help the needy there; the fix-it folks who test (or fix) every appliance, lamp, and/or toy before they head to the sales floor in working condition (often inserting batteries at our expense); the guys who run to the food banks in Tulsa, Muskogee, or McAlester on their own time and expense with their trucks and/or trailers to keep the food pantry shelves stocked; the pantry people who order supplies, stock shelves after every incoming shipment, and fill grocery carts for 250+ families/month (elderly, disabled, Veterans, grandparents with newly arrived grandchildren by proxy, and folks facing dire circumstances) plus the “cart runners” who courteously accompany them out to their vehicles and help unload; the front counter staff (good-natured checkout clerks who rely on God’s grace, gut instinct, and common sense to fairly price everything folks bring up to buy because much of it isn’t “priced” — we don’t have time to put price tags on everything!); the gal who takes time to glean and tag “designer items” for our two boutique racks (I’m tellin’ ya, I bought a Calvin Klein purse there for $3…) to generate even more sales for the food pantry; another lovely lady who sorts through the jewelry and updates our display racks every day (she’s also in charge of setting aside/storing select items for holidays, especially Christmas); our “day managers” who troubleshoot as well as tend to the deposit at the end of each day; the Mission Treasurer who keeps our bookkeeping straight; our empathetic intake staff who listens with love and compassion to heartbreaking life-stories inorder to give folks the help they need; and even a “roving reporter” who keeps the community apprised of our goings-on to solicit more support; plus myriad others who keep The Mission functional and viable,  including a sweet lady who designs our display shelves every Monday, one who arranges silk floral displays because she “likes to”, the janitor who cleans the place once a week, another treasured volunteer who takes home Barbie dolls and baby dolls to clean them up on her own time and/or culls through countless children’s books to encourage kids to read, and everybody else who donates “all of the above” — or used shopping bags. Thank you! We couldn’t do it without you.

(Apologies if I forgot anyone… time to rest and relax… hope you are, too!)

My Labor of Love is insignificant compared to all that goes on at The Mission and it seemed important for me to divulge that. Cooking because I love to (and can) is one thing, but VOLUNTEERING to help the helpless is a whole ‘nother level of love.

What makes your heart sing?

Enjoying being chairman of that motley crew (and cooking for them),

~ Kim

The Current State Of Capital K

A few years ago I penned this post about being “nicknamed” and how thrilled I was to find a Capital K to express myself. Despite heartfelt pleas to PLEASE call me by my name (with continued disregard for my feelings and/or preferences, all in the name of endearing) it went on for six decades. FYI, my late brother and sister also despised their “lifelong nicknames.” I was sick of it — no disrespect intended — but there comes a time to draw the line and that’s the Truth.

Fast forward to The Current State of Capital K.

Initially (no pun intended, lol!) I was enamored by its old-school-font and whitewashed exterior — a fresh start — but soon after it arrived I relegated it to a bookshelf until I had time to decide what to do with it. Cool the way it was, but it was “missing something.” Sometimes self-discovery (and playfulness) takes awhile.

Last weekend I finally released my Capital K from its bookshelf-bondage, painted it metallic copper, added a few pressed-flower stickers I intended to give my sister (who died before I could “gift” her with my latest thrift store find) and thought NOW is the perfect time to play. Welcome to the new Capital K! I’m feeling more like “me” by the day.

My name is Kim — without a “nickname” attached.

Enjoying the freedom to be me at last,

~ Kim

Billy Loves Angie

There’s an underpass just down the road where the locals express their sentiments in spray paint. Most are innocuous, a few are ribald, and then there’s true love.

Apparently these two were an item at one time and I smile every time I drive past their declaration. I wonder about them, too. Did he write it or did she? Whose idea was it? Are they still together or have they gone their separate ways?

While those questions will likely go unanswered, they give me pause for thought. Have you told your special someone how much they mean to you today? I’m not suggesting that you deface public property in the name of love, but I do suggest being “bright red” about it.

I guarantee you’ll make someone smile.

Enjoying true love,

~ Kim

Fun Stuff

 

Life’s been in a bit of a lull lately (blessedly and gratefully so) and inspiration oft arrives when and where you least expect it.

This morning as I sat outside with my clipboard on my lap awaiting profound thoughts ;) I sipped on a cup of java listening to birdsong. I also had to grin at my “Crocs and sox” — me ‘n’ Mario Batali, woohoo!

Yup, I finally traded in my cowboy boots. (I do keep a pair at the ready for snake season… a different kind of “fun”… gotta love life at the lake.) Praise God for comfortable footwear and amenable places to “think thoughts.” Here’s the view I was contemplating.

The View

Speaking of “The View” (as seen on TV), its foodie counterpart is The Chew . I’m not a regular TV-watcher, but I do brake for cooking shows now and then.

A thousand pardons… I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Michael Symon. I’ve long admired him (his 1,000 mega-watt grin continues to light up my life) and the banter between him, Mario, and their affable cohorts — not to mention their incredible edible inspirations — are such fun!

Meanwhile, back outside…

My flower beds are finally weeded and the wildflower seeds are planted. Does anyone know what that vine is? I tend to err on the side of “purdy” vs. horticultural, thankfully without a rash so far. (Please let me know if it’s a weed!)

Other fun stuff: music and food.

I’m sorting through a plethora of recipes and regulating music rehearsals as we speak. These days I have to meter out my time and attention span. Balance is key.

Food and Music

Oopsie daisies! (Don’tcha love that line by Hugh Grant in Notting Hill?) I nearly forgot to include food photos. I’ve also been known to sputter similar meaningless aphorisms… “holy cow”, “what a hoot”, and “that’s hilarious.” C’est la vie! Never hesitate to express yourself, even if it sounds silly… make that fun. Your thoughts matter! I love ’em  all.

And you!

Enjoying a lil’ fun at the lake,

~ Kim

The Desk

I never imagined I’d fall for such a modern-looking desk to house my “creative space” (especially in a room I’ve been trying to make look cozy for two years), but with its full-length keyboard drawer and room for treasures on top (my monitor and printer included), I was smitten.

Nothin’ like combining the new with old. If that’s the story o’ your life, too, do tell!

I’ve come to relish unexpected blessings and spontaneously altered floor plans.

garden-room-aka-office-in-flux

Above is my Garden Room (aka office) in flux. Still a tad crowded, but it’s getting there.

My plan, my dream (neglected ’til now) involved moving things around a bit, but it’s coming closer to the vision of what I “want” it to be… HOPE it will be… some day.

The the rest is trial & error. And Trust. God works all things for good! (Romans 8:28)

One thing that’s made my seemingly impossible dream possible — besides moving furniture, ongoing prayer, and a huge dose of grace — was this recent purchase of art supplies to pursue yet another “creative dream.” (See some day above.)

More on that soon!

There’s still FOOD — yay, food! — even though I haven’t pulled out the ol’ Nikon as often as I once did. I make it a point to treat myself to something tasty every single day. (Once in awhile I’m even compelled to share a glimpse.)

walleye-1

Pan-seared Walleye & Caramelized Onions atop Spring mix salad lightly dressed with balsamic vinaigrette, Tuscan veggies, Quince preserves, & Moroccan olives

Enjoying moving forward ergonomically, artistically, musically, and TASTEFULLY!

~ Kim

A Totally Unedited Post (okay, a couple of times to proofread) and an Appeal…

6 December 2013

Dear Ones,

I’m sooooo at the mercy of my creative soul. (Inspiration comes in the most unlikely forms and at the most unexpected times.) Thanks for bearing with me, blog world pals and new friends! xo

Take our recent snowstorm, for instance. Some might view it as an inconvenience, but I look at it as a break from life… and blogging.

A much needed break. (Back at’cha next weekend.)

I’m talking slow-simmered, re-evaluate as you go, throw another log on the fire, take a NAP, think it over twice before you hit the “send” button (except now), and give it some serious consideration first.

Why are you blogging? What do you want from it? What do you get from it? What do you give? (Emphasis on the last musing.)

In this online world of pretty pictures (some? all? enhanced…) as opposed to the very real world of poverty around me, it gets to be a bit much at times. The dichotomy of it digs at me — deeply.

Folks are starving here… and not just here.

Frankly, I plain ol’ don’t care if my pictures are food photo worthy (or not) or if my recipes are on the cutting edge of trendiness. (Well, I do to some extent…if Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy; refer to “creative soul” above.)

What I care about more is that hungry people are fed.

Staring that statement in the face, I guess that’s why I’m here.

No. I know that’s why I’m here.

To feed your soul (hopefully)… as well as the stomachs of those in hunger.

I love having a purpose!

Between the surreal (albeit blessed) world of posting about my latest kitchen paraphernalia (and/or recipes) versus the real need of donating to our local food shelf, I might just make a difference to someone somewhere. It’s not for naught.

My efforts matter… and so do yours!

O Christmas Tree

During this holiday season (often fraught with excess), please choose to make a difference to someone in need. Step up to the plate — not just those with artful backgrounds — and donate generously to your local food pantry.

That’s it. Thank you. Love y’all!

Enjoying more blessings than I can count,

~ Kimby

Life Beyond The Kitchen

As I was wandering about the house today (which I consider a form of exercise…), I was so thankful to be “here” (life, home, blog world), it inspired me to share a glimpse of life beyond the kitchen… plus, an updated photo of yours truly… the weathered version. :)  For those of you who follow me on Facebook and Google+ (yes, I joined the ranks), thanks for bearing with any photographic repetition.  Here’s what I’m peering at…

I count my blessings every time I look out that window…

Behind each and every blog is a human being — a life in progress — yours (and mine) included.  That’s why I decided to share my current “life and times” — a catching up and a jumping off point, of sorts.

(Public declarations mean one must do something about ’em, right?)

Take art, for instance…

When I’m not in the kitchen, I dabble.  Or dream.  Or both.  Actually, there’s more dreaming than dabbling at this point… I’m just now feeling settled in after our trip to Minnesota… but I’m pursuing it!

Way back when, I used to draw all the time — sketches, posters, illustrations, and what not.  I also loved wood burning — the texture of it fascinated me.  But, somewhere along the line, I put it all away.

(Not sure why, but it’s nothing to get hung about…)

Then “art” started calling my name (again) and I decided to answer back.  FYI, I don’t have a clue how to paint with oils yet — the hodgepodge above was a gift from a friend — but it’s messy and fun, and it makes for mighty purdy “art” photos. ;)

Whenever I set up that easel — my easel — I feel like a kid with a new toy.  (Tons of possibilities… will keep you posted.)  I’ve also joined an artists’ group whose mission is to leave Random Acts of Art in public places.  (More fun!)  Here’s my contribution…

Then, there’s music… and writing.  My constant companions.  Best friends, really.  They’ve been with me longer than anybody else.

Music and writing are the essence of my life — a source of solace and inspiration — not to mention some pretty interesting characters over the span of 50+ years.  (In current terminology, for-eh-vah…)

Truth be told, when I’m not carrying around my clipboard and pen, I’m carrying a tune.  That’s just the way it is.  (Yes, Bruce Hornsby & The Range are playing right now.)

So, how is it for you?  What do you love to do besides cook?  (Or is cooking your best friend?)  Is there something you’ve set aside?

No matter what stage of life you’re in, creative longings have a way of making themselves known.  Even if you can’t do anything about them right now, the important thing is to make a dent.

Whether life grants you five minutes (or 50 years) to scribble something down, throw it in a file and save it for later.  Write a “someday list” and review it now and then.  (Not the same as a “Bucket List” — I’m talkin’  deep down things that have always been a part of you — unless your lifelong dream is to jump out of an airplane.)  Hey, how ya doin’, Missy? :)

“Someday” may arrive when you least expect it — like it did for me.  Keep your dreams alive.  And, when you finally can do something about them, pick up where you left off and don’t look back.  No excuses, no regrets!

By the way… I’ve always loved playing with food.

Enjoying creative license,

~ Kim

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